by Karen Blanchard
MACOMB, MI – Are you tired of setting New Year’s Resolutions every year only to give up on them come the 3rd or 4th week of January? I know I am! In January of 2015, my husband introduced our church to the idea of choosing a One Word to define our year. He encouraged us to pray and ask God to lead us to a word that we can grow in spiritually and to choose a verse to go along with it. Almost every year since then, I have chosen a One Word to define my year. Through choosing a One Word over the last seven years, God has grown my walk with Him.
Mike Ashcraft, a pastor in North Carolina who wrote the “My One Word” book, says:
“We value initiative and effort in others and assume that’s what God values in us too. We qualify ourselves based on how hard we work. We evaluate our character based on how often we go to church, attend Bible studies, volunteer, or check other items off our religious resume. We carry the subtle belief that God helps those who help themselves. But, when you do all these things and yet little transformation takes place, what then:
Promise not to do this, or swear not to do that?
No! We have to position ourselves to focus and depend on God’s work in our heart and in our lives.”
So often in our lives we try to work hard in our own strength and make things happen. We think if we just try harder we can accomplish our goals. We should work hard to accomplish the things God is calling us to do, but we can’t do it on our own. We need to invite the Holy Spirit in our life and ask him to give us what we need to accomplish his goals for our lives. As each year comes to an end and I look ahead to a new year, I begin to seek God for what he wants me to learn and focus on in the coming new year.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”
If we want to grow spiritually in 2022, then we have to be intentional with our growth. It will not just happen on its own. When we seek God to lead us to a word to define our year, then we can be intentional in seeking him through that One Word.
Below are a few steps in seeking God through a One Word:
Pray – Ask God to reveal to you what your One Word should be. When you pray for God to lead in this, it removes your striving to get it right. Ask God to open your eyes to what he has for you. Then he will begin to illuminate the word he has chosen for you. It is incredible the ways God has confirmed my words over the years.
Make a List – Create a list of words that speak to you and that you would like to grow in. Is there an area in your character that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you that you need work in? If so, start there! Don’t be afraid of the words that seem difficult. If your word scares you, it is probably exactly where God wants to take you. You can have confidence knowing he is working through that word because you sought his guidance, and he led you there.
Pick a Word – From the list you created and prayed over, choose a word. Don’t worry about picking the “right” word. God will use whatever word you choose to grow you in 2022. Again, it isn’t about what YOU do in the choosing, but it is about you seeking God through whatever word you choose. As you seek Him through this process, he will grow you!
Stick With It! - When you have picked your One Word, be sure to stick with it through the entire year. This is where being intentional comes into play. Choose a book or devotional that focuses on your One Word. I search for verses and quotes, and I also like to wear my word on a necklace, bracelet, or shirt. By doing these things, I make sure my One Word stays in front of me all year long.
I want to end this article with one final quote from Mike Ashcraft:
“The goal this year is not for you to swear you’ll do better at ‘this’ or promise you’ll never do ‘that’ again. Sweeping promises inevitably breed feelings of failure. The aim is for you to use your One Word to get into a focused posture and remain there while you depend on Christ.”
Change is possible.
Focus is required.
Seek God in 2022 through just a One Word. You will be amazed in the growth that comes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen is married to Scott Blanchard, pastor of Lakepointe Church, and moved from Florida to Michigan in the summer of 2009 to plant Lakepointe Church in Shelby Township. She enjoys mentoring and discipling women and also leads women’s life groups through her church. She is passionate about helping women find their purpose in who God created them to be. She is on staff at Lakepointe Church and loves being part of what God is doing in the Metro Detroit area!